[FORUM]Korea is a hub for time travelThe term “time machine” first appeared exactly 109 years ago, in 1895, when H.G. Wells, a British writer, published his novel “The Time Machine” in the midst of widespread turn-of-the-century uncertainty and imagination. Since then, there has been tumultuous controversy over time travel, that is, whether traveling into the past or future in a time machine was possible. The controversy became even more heated when Albert Einstein announced his principle of relativity in 1905. Einstein came forward to conclude that time travel was impossible, but the controversy still goes on.
In any case, a time machine is an indispensable object in science fiction movies these days. A memorable example is the “Terminator” series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Terminator is a human-looking cyborg that a dictator, an artificial intelligence computer, dispatched from 2029 into 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the enemy commander John Connor. His intention was to prevent John Connor from being born by killing his future mother. To protect his mother, John Connor also sent Kyle Reese back to 1984 to confront the Terminator. When this film was released, the scenes of killings by the terminator with a machine gun became a controversial topic.
What is the reason time machines and the Terminator emerged suddenly in the summer of 2004 as a topic of conversation? The way our society is now going confuses us into thinking that we are traveling into the past in a time machine. The dispute over a so-called national identity in political circles is an exact parody of the film “The Terminator.”
As our society travels into the past in a time machine, dead people come to life. First of all, former President Park Chung Hee is resurrected. The 21st-century leading forces, the “386 generation,” pro-North Korean leftists and the pro-government media dispatch a Korean-version “Terminator” back to 30 years ago. The order might be changed. The terminator fires blindly with a machine gun at any place where Mr. Park is likely to hide. When the time machine travels farther into the past, First Lieutenant Park Chung Hee ― or Dakaki Masao, his Japanese name ― in his puppet Manchurian military uniform appears. His Japanese sword will be taken from his waist and he will be stabbed wildly.
The time machine moves again to the present. His daughter is called “the first lady of the Yushin era” and attacked. Even the president helps the attack, saying, “I am ashamed of preparing for the government examination to be a lawyer under the Yushin era. What matters, Yushin or the future?” Stigmatized as pro-Japanese collaborators, those who occupied even the lowest positions in the government during the Japanese colonial rule are all likely to be stigmatized as pro-Japanese and their bodies disinterred and beheaded again. A news outlet that is being attacked over this issue sent the deceased Son Gi-jung, the first Korean Olympic marathon winner, back to 1936 to cope with the terminator, but he failed.
Along with Mr. Park, Kim Jae-gyu, who assassinated Mr. Park, will be resurrected before long. With luck, he may appear wearing an armband called “democratic fighter.” His body, buried now in a cemetery in Gwangju, Gyeonggi province, might be moved to the National Cemetery.
What is the reason our society travels in the past in a time machine, particularly only to exhume former President Park’s faults? Aha! That’s it. The time machine has already looked three years into the future. It is to nip in the bud, the presidential ambition of Park Geun-hye, chairwoman of the Grand National Party, who may be the most powerful candidate in 2007. The plot’s elaborateness and tenacity are no less wonderful than those of the terminator in the movie.
Therefore, we have advice for our terminator. He should travel 20 or 30 years into the future. If he sticks only with the past without thinking about the present and the future as he does now, and thus if our country wastes time fighting with each other, we can see clearly what it will be like even if we do not have a time machine. Our descendants will work in Japan or China, facing contempt there.
*The writer is a deputy managing editor in charge of culture news of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Yoo Jae-sik